From the notebook of business editor Tim Rausch

Augusta does a brisk trade with countries north and south of the border

Augusta’s best North American trade partner is Toronto.

 

The bilateral trade between the two cities is about $134 million a year, according to a think-tank analysis.

 

The next-best trading partner is Mexico City, at $79 million of trade back and forth, followed by Montreal at $77 million.

 

The commodities that Augusta exports the most to either Mexico or Canada are chemicals and plastics. Wood products – no surprise there – and machinery and tools are the other commodities in demand here or there.

 

Augusta’s total trade with Canada is $739 million annually; with Mexico, $496 million.

 

PERSONAL DEVICES: It took a few days, but US Airways issued a statement on the use of electronic devices on flights. Delta said it was OK on the same day that the Federal Aviation Administration removed the restriction on using them below 10,000 feet.

 

So, if you’re hopping onto a jet leaving Augusta Regional Airport, both airlines say it is fine to play with the smartphone, tablet or e-reader after you’ve hit the seat.

 

Phone calls, though, are still a no-no, and the phone needs to be on airplane mode.

 

IT’S THE WORKFORCE: An industry trade publication, Site Selection magazine, made Georgia the top state for business climate. Part of the input for that ranking comes from the opinion of corporate real estate executives who make decisions about locating businesses.

 

What they said about the No. 1 criterion for picking a state for a new manufacturing plant, for example, falls in line with what business writers always see in the canned news releases about such matters.

 

They usually have something to say about the workforce as being the first reason why a location was picked, whereas naysayers think incentives and government buying jobs are the top criterion.

 

No. 1 on the list of what matters most to the executives who make decisions on facilities was existing workforce skills, followed by transportation, utilities and taxes.

 

Incentives are on the list, but not until the No. 8 criterion of importance.

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